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A Letter to Five-Year-Old Me

by SYDNEY CHURCH - October 15, 2020 - Dear younger me, there are thousands of things I need you to know.

Dear Five-year-old Sydney,

Do you remember when you turned five years old? You had a Jonas Brothers birthday cake. You ran through the house in your favorite Spongebob nightgown, screaming the lyrics to a “High School Musical” song while being chased by your younger sister. You started kindergarten two months later and lost your first tooth on the “sharing rug” while studying the days of the week. Oh, how simple life was.

Eventually, you moved away, halfway across the country to Indiana. You made some new friends—some of them are strangers now—but they were great friends all the same. Your teachers taught you more than just the school curriculum; you learned who you are and who you can become. You accomplished things you never even dreamed of and did things you never thought possible.

Now I’m offering you some advice. I’ve learned a lot and you deserve to know every bit of it.

Never, ever say no to an adventure. You will have some of the most amazing experiences in your lifetime, especially during the summer before your senior year. Some of the simple things like night drives, skateboarding in empty parking lots, and wandering aimlessly through Goodwill every other weekend are the best memories you’ll ever make.

Take every opportunity to go to a concert that you get, and there will be many. Don’t turn them down. Music will save your life, so don’t be afraid to live like it. Scream the lyrics at the top of your lungs and hug the stranger that’s crying next to you. You’re all living the same life anyways.

Don’t forget to say “I love you.” And always mean it.

Take as many mental pictures as you can. You have hundreds of them hanging in your room now, but the physical copies are never as good as the ones you keep stored away in your memory. So, take thousands and thousands of them, and never forget that they’re there.

Cherish the people next to you, and hug them tightly. So many people will come in and out of your life, but love them while they’re here. Show them that they mean something to you because every single one of them does.

Surround yourself in happiness. That is the only way to live.

And finally, don’t ever give up on yourself. You are strong and passionate—use that to every advantage that you can. You have a gift. People have been telling you that since before you could talk, and it is insanely true. You are capable of so much more than you’d ever think.

When you turned 17 years old, you didn’t even have a birthday cake. You spent the night before surrounded by all of your favorite people, living life quite literally like a movie.

I wouldn’t dare call life simple anymore. In fact, it’s almost the exact opposite. Life really is good, even though it’s also complicated and messy and really, really hard, but I wouldn’t want to live any other way.

All the love,

17-year-old Sydney

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